Mayo Clinic identifies best treatments for long-term survival in brain tumor patients

Dec 03, 2008

A new Mayo Clinic study found that patients with low-grade gliomas survived longest when they underwent aggressive surgeries to successfully remove the entire tumor. If safely removing the entire tumor was not possible, patients survived significantly longer when surgery was followed by radiation therapy. This study is available online as an advance publication in Neuro-Oncology.

Gliomas are a type of brain tumor that form in the brain or spinal cord tissue and can spread within the nervous system. Low-grade gliomas are malignant and slow growing; overall, patients' average survival is five to seven years after diagnosis, even with treatment. Annually, about 17,000 Americans are diagnosed with a glioma. Of that total, 3,000 to 4,000 are categorized as low-grade. Mayo Clinic physicians treat more than 4,000 adults and children who have gliomas and other brain and nervous system tumors each year.

"Mayo Clinic has a long history of expertise in treating patients with brain tumors," says Nadia Laack, M.D., a Mayo Clinic radiation oncologist and lead author of this study. "This makes our study unique in terms of the large volumes of patients seen here and the extensive length of follow-up."

Dr. Laack and a team of Mayo Clinic researchers studied the records of 314 adult patients with low-grade gliomas who were diagnosed between 1960 and 1992 and had an average of 13 years of follow-up. Nearly half of the patients who underwent aggressive surgeries (gross total resection or radical subtotal resection) were free of tumor recurrence 15 years after diagnosis.

When performing aggressive surgery was not a safe option, postoperative radiation therapy nearly doubled average survival. The average survival time was three years in patients who did not receive radiation therapy, while those who had radiation therapy survived an average of six years.

"This study is exciting because it shows how well glioma patients can do after surgery," says Dr. Laack. "An average of 15 years tumor-free is better than any previously published results. It is also exciting to discover that patients can benefit from radiation therapy. It not only lengthens the time before the tumor comes back, it actually improves the length of time people live. This builds on previous Mayo Clinic data that suggested similar results from a small study published nearly 20 years ago."

According to Dr. Laack, these findings may be controversial due to common concerns about possible long-term side effects of radiation therapy. At Mayo Clinic, these potential side effects are minimized by tightly focusing radiation therapy on the tumor, she says.

Article: neuro-oncology.dukejournals.or… /15228517-2008-102v1

Source: Mayo Clinic

Explore further: Researcher to cancer: 'Resistance will be futile'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Washington takes on Uber with its own taxi app

6 hours ago

Washington is developing a smartphone app to enable its taxis to compete head-on with Uber and other ride-sharing services, the US capital's taxi commission said Friday.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in living color

6 hours ago

Rosetta's OSIRIS team have produced a color image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it would be seen by the human eye. As anticipated, the comet turns out to be very grey indeed, with only slight, subtle ...

EU clean air, waste laws at risk

6 hours ago

EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker faces a clash with lawmakers after leaked documents Friday revealed his plans to drop laws on clean air and waste recycling.

Recommended for you

Medical marijuana helpful for cancer-linked symptoms

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Cannabis and cannabinoid pharmaceuticals can be helpful for nausea and vomiting, pain, and weight loss associated with cancer, according to research published online Dec. 10 in CA: A Cancer Jo ...

Mutations need help from aging tissue to cause leukemia

14 hours ago

Why are older people at higher risk for developing cancer? Prevailing opinion holds that, over time, your body's cells accumulate DNA damage and that eventually this damage catches up with the body in a way ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.